Alchemy, Marxism, and the future of Darwinism

I recently found myself in a conversation with two college undergraduates, both of them seniors in the natural sciences (physics and biochemistry, respectively). At one point we were discussing alchemy, which they knew as a pre-modern attempt to transmute lead into gold. I asked them whether they could name any famous alchemists. They could not, though one of them dimly recalled hearing of “someone whose name began with A.” I then predicted that Darwinian evolution would eventually fade into the same obscurity that now shrouds alchemy. Although I knew from previous conversations that my young friends were skeptical of Darwinian theory, they expressed considerable surprise at my prediction, if only because Darwinism is presently held in such high esteem by Read More ›

The Cracked Haeckel Approach to Evolutionary Reasoning

There’s an old lawyers’ joke about the “cracked kettle” approach to legal argumentation. Jones sues Smith for borrowing her kettle and returning it with a crack in it. Smith’s lawyer then defends her with the following arguments (in order): 1. Smith didn’t borrow the kettle. 2. The kettle was cracked before Smith borrowed it. 3. When Smith returned the kettle, it wasn’t cracked. 4. There never was a kettle. In my book Icons of Evolution I described a 2000 conference talk in which Kevin Padian (President of the National Center for Science Education) used argumentation very much like this to defend his claim that birds are modified descendants of dinosaurs.1 Darwinists are now using a similar approach to defend Ernst Read More ›

Flock of Dodos, or Pack of Lies?

EDITORS NOTE: This is an updated and expanded version of a previous post. Darwinist-turned-filmmaker Randy Olson showed “Flock of Dodos” in Seattle on Wednesday, February 7. Although the film sacrifices truth in order to tell a good story, it fails even at that. As entertainment, it’s a flop. But I’m less interested in the film’s cinematic shortcomings than in the way it misrepresents the truth — and in the way Olson is dealing with criticisms of those misrepresentations.

Cellular Zip Codes: Where’s the Postmaster?

In 1970, Nobel laureate Jacques Monod called DNA the “secret of life” and said that the discovery of its structure and function — especially “the understanding of the random physical basis of mutation” — means that “the mechanism of Darwinism is at last securely founded” and that humans are “a mere accident.”[ 1] According to neo-Darwinism, all living things are descended from a common ancestor, modified by natural selection acting on random variations that are generated by DNA mutations. But only if an embryo’s development were programmed by its DNA could mutations in DNA provide the raw materials for large-scale evolution. So neo-Darwinism assumes that embryo development is controlled by a genetic program. But there is a serious problem with Read More ›

Darwin’s Defenders in Kansas Trying to Have Their Cake and Eat it Too

As a member of the Kansas Science Standards writing committee last year, Stephen B. Case adamantly opposed critical thinking in high school biology classes. A Darwinist, Case was furious when the Kansas State School Board decided that students should learn the evidence and scientific arguments both for and against evolutionary theory. Intelligent design (ID) was not included in the state science standards, but Darwinists feel threatened by it anyway. Case writes: “One thing is clear: The scientific community has not embraced the explanation of design because it is quite clear that on the basis of the evidence, it is just wrong. Beyond the clarity that design is not science, the smoke is hiding an attack on the religious faith and Read More ›